Maps: OS Landranger 101; Explorer 301
Start: Eastfield industrial estate (039838)
Finish: Peasholm Green bus terminus (037896)
Distance: 5.8 miles along sand (plus 0.7 miles at start from bus stop)
Going: Easy except for one gentle climb; two climbs if visiting the Castle)
Natural England NCA: 26 (Vale of Pickering) and 25 (NY Moors and Cleveland Hills)
Special interest: Holbeck Hall, Scarborough Castle
Those doing Walk 20 as a separate itinerary, retrace steps from Walk 19 from the roundabout bus stop to the junction of the B1261 with Thornburgh Road (point (Y) on Walk 19). Go through the gap in the hedge on the left.
For those who are carrying on directly from Walk 19, the gap in the hedge is over the road straight in front of you.
After going through the gap, cross the grass, turn right and follow the road (Loders Green) curving round left. At the T-junction, go left up Holme Hill Road, into the 20 mph zone, to another T-junction. Turn right and walk down Westway to The Dell (A). This is Scarborough’s first Local Nature Reserve. Turn left and follow the path by the stream.
Where the houses end (B) the path carries on in the same direction diagonally up the side of Deep Dale valley to the hairpin road bend at (C). Taking the right fork, follow the road, called Deepdale Avenue, going gently downslope to the A165 road (D) along which the Coastliner bus runs. Go straight across and down Sea Cliff Road and then on to the car park (E) by the site of the former Holbeck Hall Hotel. A very informative notice board explains the collapse of the hotel in 1993.
From this point there is a choice of route to take from the car cark. Our preferred way, if the tide is out, is to walk all the way to Scarborough along the beach. But do make sure to check tide times. The astronomically minded should find time to investigate the ‘Star Disc’ on the site of the former open air swimming pool and no-one should miss the location of the original spa at (F).
However, if the tide is in, you may need to go slightly inland and follow the Cleveland Way trail through Holbeck and South Cliff Gardens. There is a maze of tarred paths in the Gardens, so if you miss the official route, just keep going and make sure you keep the sea on your right!
After going past the harbour, either ascend the steep path (G) to visit Scarborough Castle or continue on Marine Drive around the Headland and beside North Bay to the road bend at (H). A left turn leads to the Coastliner bus terminus at the roundabout outside Peasholm Park.
Here’s a reminder of some Scarborough Snippets. Did you know that:
Although Scarborough is known as England’s oldest holiday resort, it was famous before that as a spa town.
The Grand Hotel was the largest hotel and the largest brick structure in Europe when it was opened in 1867. The building is designed around the theme of time: four towers to represent the seasons, 12 floors for the months of the year, 52 chimneys symbolise the weeks and originally there were 365 bedrooms, one for each day of the year. The hotel itself is in the shape of a ‘V’ in honour of Queen Victoria. As Scarborough was a famous spa town, the building’s baths originally included an extra pair of taps, so guests could wash in seawater as well as fresh.
The Rotunda Museum, designed by William Smith, the ‘Father of English Geology’, is home to Gristhorpe Man, a unique Bronze Age skeleton found near Scarborough buried in a large hollowed-out oak tree trunk. The museum also houses a permanent exhibition of some of the artefacts found at Star Carr.
Taking the position of Steward of the Manor of Northstead is a procedural device to allow Members of Parliament to resign from the British House of Commons. MPs are technically forbidden from resigning, so to get round this difficulty, a legal fiction is used. Any appointment to an ‘office of profit under The Crown’ automatically disqualifies an individual from sitting as an MP. So any MP wishing to resign takes up the position of either Steward of the Manor of Northstead or Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds. The ancient manor of Northstead lies beneath the lake in Peasholm Park!
The name of Oliver’s Mount may be derived from the mistaken belief that Oliver Cromwell placed batteries here during the siege of Scarborough Castle.
Marine Drive, linking North and South Bays, took 10 years, 10 months and 10 days to build and was completed in 1908.
When the Holbeck Hall Hotel collapsed in a 1993 landslide, an estimated one million tonnes of material was displaced and spread across the beach. The cliff has been subject to regular movement and the first recorded slip (reported as ‘an earthquake’) was in 1737 when grazing cows were carried – unharmed – down the cliff.
St Mary’s Church Millennium Cross is a modern interpretation of a Viking commemorative stone that was erected to mark the Scarborough Viking Festival held in June 2000. It is a reminder of the town’s Viking heritage and the conversion of the Viking people to Christianity in 996 AD.
Scarborough Castle claims never to have been taken by force – only by starvation or sickness. Its strategic importance was recognised by Bronze Age and Iron Age peoples, both of whom had settlements here. Then in about 370 AD the Romans built a square tower signal station but the archaeology is complicated because the Roman remnants are intermingled with the remains of three medieval chapels. However, when the Vikings arrived, they chose to occupy the lower land rather than the cliff top and even when the Normans came, they did not immediately build a castle on the hilltop. The first Norman work dates from only about 1135 and it was still later before Henry II constructed the fortress whose remains we see on the headland today.
It was during the Civil War that the Castle experienced its greatest tests. In 1645 the Royalists were besieged by the Parliamentarians and towards the end of their ordeal the King’s men were forced to eat cats, dogs, sparrows and rats. They even boiled and chewed their leather belts before surrendering. Three years later, the castle was again held for the King and, once more, the garrison was forced to surrender due to starvation. Parliament ordered the castle to be ‘slighted’ but enough damage had already been done to make this formality unnecessary.
The last military action seen at the castle was in 1914 when Scarborough, like Whitby Abbey, was shelled by German warships. The castle itself was hit and in the town 19 people were killed.